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Teenager faces life sentence for murdering 12-year-old Ava White

A person holds the order of service at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral ahead of the funeral of Ava White (Danny Lawson/PA)
A person holds the order of service at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral ahead of the funeral of Ava White (Danny Lawson/PA)

A 14-year-old boy has been warned he faces a life sentence after he was convicted of the murder of 12-year-old Ava White.

The teenager, appearing via videolink at Liverpool Crown Court, put his head in his hands as a jury found him guilty on Tuesday after two hours and eight minutes of deliberations.

He fatally stabbed Ava in the neck in Liverpool city centre on November 25 following a row over a Snapchat video.

Members of her family erupted into cheers as the verdict was returned at the end of a trial which lasted just over two weeks.

Mrs Justice Yip told the boy: “In light of the jury’s verdict, I think you know I can only impose a life sentence, but what I have to do is decide what the shortest amount of time that you will have to serve in custody is.”

She adjourned the sentencing until July 11 for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

She also warned the family the court would take a different approach because the case involved a child.

She told them: “I’m sure whatever sentence I decide upon, after careful reflection, I’m afraid it will seem far too short.”

Ava White death
Ava White was murdered last November (Trinity RC Primary School/PA)

One woman on the jury wiped away a tear as the judge discharged them and excused them from further jury service.

The boy had denied Ava’s murder and claimed he accidentally stabbed the schoolgirl in the neck in self-defence.

He told the court he wanted to “frighten her away” after an altercation in Liverpool city centre on the evening of November 25 last year.

During the trial, the court heard Ava and her friends became involved in an argument with the defendant and three of his friends after the boys recorded Snapchat videos of the group.

Ava White death
The knife used to stab 12-year-old Ava White (CPS/PA)

Friends of Ava said the boy “grinned” after stabbing her in School Lane and running away.

The defendant told the jury: “I promise, I didn’t mean to hit her.”

The court heard that after Ava was struck to the neck the defendant ran away, discarded his knife and took off his coat, which was later found in a wheelie bin.

CCTV showed him and his friends in a shop where the defendant took a selfie and the group bought butter, which he said was for crumpets.

He then went to a friend’s home and when his mother contacted him because police wanted to speak to him, he told her he was playing a computer game.

Ava White funeral
The coffin of Ava White is carried out of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral following her funeral (Danny Lawson/PA)

After he was arrested, just after 10.30pm, he initially told police he had not been in the city centre but in later interviews blamed another boy for the stabbing.

Speaking outside court, Detective Superintendent Sue Coombs said Ava’s family were still “completely devastated”.

She said: “Today, a 14-year-old boy has been convicted of her murder but the conclusion of this legal process by no means brings to an end their grief and suffering.

“Ava’s death has cruelly illustrated to us the devastation that can be caused by carrying and using knives and Merseyside Police will continue to work to combat knife crime.”

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